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Home | Tag Archives: hacep

Tag Archives: hacep

HACEP, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger teaming up for grocery deliveries to elderly residents

Thursday afternoon, officials with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso announced that their organization is collaborating with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank in order to provide food for elderly residents.

HACEP’s Resident Services staff are delivering food pantries to the residents’ doors to help avoid congregating in the common areas and community halls of the properties.

“Many residents at the elderly communities purchased food for approximately 1 to 2 weeks and now they are running out,” HACEP officials shared. “El Pasoans Fighting Hunger has been a partner with HACEP but at this time of need for many families, they are a blessing.”

For residents who wish to order their groceries online, Resident Services staff members are also assisting by helping them make the order and payment online for them.

Once the order is ready, a designated driver goes to pick up the groceries and delivers them to the resident’s door.

For residents who receive food stamps, the online payment system is not feasible for them, making the support of El Pasoans Fighting Hunger and its volunteers even more important.

Resident Services staff members are taking all the precautions necessary to stay safe in order to continue serving the elderly throughout these much needed times.

To donate to El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, click here.

HACEP opens Choice Voucher wait list

Officials with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso announced Tuesday that they will open applications for their Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) waitlist applications at 8am on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Officials added that applicants do not need to come to any HACEP facility in-person to apply.  HACEP will accept applications until 11:59pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

“The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso designed the Choice Voucher Program to allow applicants who qualify to increase their housing choice in areas of greater opportunity and rental assistance,” officials shared via email. “It also can afford them the opportunity to participate in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program that plans for economic self-sufficiency.”

The Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance for low-income families and single individuals. For those who qualify, The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso is accepting applications online; applicants need only click on the Housing Choice Voucher Application and have an email ready to submit the application.

“The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso looks forward to receiving applications and assisting a hand up to low-income families ready to start their future,” officials added.

Applicants who have a disability and require accommodations to apply can contact Susana Juarez for assistance at (915) 849-3612.

HACEP scholarship program helps residents achieve educational goals

Since she was a child, Patricia Castillo has wanted to be a teacher. Thanks to the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso‘s scholarship program, she’s taken an important step toward achieving that goal.

“I saw a flyer in the community, and I thought, ‘Why not?'” she said.

When she learned about the scholarship program, Castillo, 25, was already enrolled at the University of Texas at El Paso. The scholarship provided her not only a financial boost toward reaching her goal but a boost to her motivation as well.

“The scholarship motivated me to work even harder,” she said. “Before the scholarship I was unmotivated and taking my time with school. I would recommend for anyone in my position to go to school and apply for the HACEP Scholarship and to take advantage of the resources around you.”

Castillo, who lives in HACEP’s Marmolejo Community in the Lower Valley, got on the Dean’s List at the University of Texas at El Paso and stayed there through graduation in December.

She graduated from UTEP with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Bilingual Early Child Education.

“It was a big accomplishment to be the first one in my family to go to college and to complete my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “Now I can set the example for my siblings so that they know finishing school is possible for them, too.”

“The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso is proud to support residents like Patricia — especially those who are the first in their families to attend and graduate from college,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “I encourage all residents who quality to apply for HACEP’s scholarship program as an important first step on their journey in higher education.”

Castillo is presently substitute teaching and pleased to be giving back to the community that gave so much to her.

For more information on the scholarship and requirements, contact HACEP via their website or by calling (915) 849-3742

HACEP awarded $30M in Tax Credits; Will fund new NE EP Complex, Renovate 2 others

The Housing Authority of the City of EI Paso (HACEP) was awarded tax credits totaling almost $30 million for new construction and renovation projects for three apartment complexes.

“HACEP continues to invest millions of dollars in the EI Paso community developing and re-developing in areas that will offer our families and children easier access to new opportunities, higher wage jobs, good schools, and services,” added HACEP’s CEO Gerald Cichon upon the announcement from TDHCA. “This award is not only a win for HACEP residents, but for the entire community.”

One of the awards is a 9% housing tax credit today, valued at $15 million. These funds will go towards financing the construction of a brand-new residential apartment complex in Northeast El Paso.

The other awards are 4% housing tax credits, valued at approximately $14.4 million. These funds will be used to completely renovate and remodel two existing apartment complexes that were built almost 50 years ago.

The new project, called the “Patriot Place Apartments”, will consist of 120 residential units located near El Paso Community College’s Northeast Campus and Sue Young Park.

The apartments will not only have access to the nearby community college campus and city park, but will also feature hiking paths, biking trails, and a playground of its own.

The apartments will also have access to neighborhood stores, offices, and public transportation routes.

This represents another round of annual tax credit allocation in which HACEP has competed for, and won, highly competitive 9% tax credits to build new affordable housing in El Paso.

This will be HACEP’s first major 9% tax credit project for Northeast El Paso.

HACEP’s past successful 9% tax credit projects are located throughout other parts of El Paso including the far eastside (Commissioners’ Corner Apartments), eastside (Gonzalez Place Apartments), east central (Westfall, Krupp Apartments), south central (Tays South, Sherman Apartments), downtown (the Blue Flame Building), and westside (Medano Heights Apartments).

At its meeting on Thursday, TDCHA also issued approximately $14.4 million in 4% tax credit funding for the renovation of two apartments, the DeWetter Apartments and the Kathy White Apartments.

The DeWetter Apartments, consisting of 98 units, is located at 560 Lisbon Ave. The Kathy White Apartments, consisting of 78 units, is located at 2500 Mobile Avenue. These two properties were originally constructed in 1971 and 1972 respectively and the units have been occupied and operating as public housing units.

The newly renovated apartments will cease to be public housing, as they will be converted into a more efficient federal subsidy programs for the residents.

The 4% tax credits, along with other funds provided by HACEP and from other sources, will permit both of apartment complexes to be completely renovated and updated. The total redevelopment costs for both apartments will be approximately $46 million.

“The key to HACEP’s continued revitalization effort is being creative in securing the financial resources to fund these RAD projects,” stated Francisco Ortega, Chairperson of HACEP’s Board of Commissioners. “The tax credit allocations awarded today will fund the majority of the total project costs that will bring millions of dollars in new development and renovated housing to El Paso.”

These three projects are part of HACEP’s ongoing Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) revitalization effort in EI Paso.

The RAD project is a $1.3 billion project to re-build or renovate all of HACEP’s public housing apartments and to convert them into newer, more-efficient, and more-sustainable housing for low income families.

The tax credit awards were issued in Austin on July 25, 2019 by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), the state agency responsible for allocating federal tax credit funding in Texas.

Early Morning Fire at Downtown’s ‘Blue Flame’ Building Quickly Extinguished

El Paso Fire Department (EPFD) crews rushed to the scene of a reported fire at the iconic ‘Blue Flame’ Building in Downtown El Paso Monday morning.

According to EPFD officials, their crews responded to the corner of Texas and Stanton, where workers called in a fire on one of the upper floors undergoing remodeling.

Due to the fire being reported inside of a high-rise building, the incident was upgraded to a Condition 4.

The fire, accidentally created while duct-work was being performed, was quickly contained.

EPFD officials added that no injuries were reported, no hotspots were found, and there was no damage to the structure.

As for the building itself, Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) and work crews are about halfway done converting the historic office building into 120 affordable apartment, as well as 45,000 square-feet of office and retail space.

A total of 25 units and 75 firefighters responded to the incident.

Photo gallery courtesy EPFD

Local Veteran Goes from Homeless to Homeownership

U.S. veteran Cholla Fox has gone from homelessness to homeownership through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program at the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP).

Fox, 53, moves to a home in Northeast El Paso; her daughter and grandchildren will move in with her.

“I have gone through so much in my life – peaks and valleys – and I have traveled all over this country, I now believe that this home is where I can settle down and raise my family,” Fox said. “I have earned this and I’m proud of it.”

The HUD-VASH program through HACEP is a powerful resource for veterans to get themselves on a track to self-sufficiency. Fox’s journey to homeownership is the result of a partnership between three entities: The Office of U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and HACEP.

For HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon, the success of Fox and others is only the beginning.

“We have utilized the HUD-VASH program to the fullest extent since its 2008 inception to help our U.S. veterans rebuild their lives,” said Cichon. “Ms. Fox and others who have excelled in this program illustrate the power of this program and how it impacts the lives of veterans nationwide.”

Originally from Beaumont, Texas, Fox joined the U.S. Army in 1982 and was active for 25 years, living in El Paso during her first station of duty before leaving the region in 1998.

Even while facing homelessness, Fox never wavered in her determination to get back on her feet. She joined the HUD-VASH program in 2014 and worked to restore her credit and savings. She worked with program coordinators through HACEP’s Family Self-Sufficiency/Homeownership Program to begin the process of purchasing a home.

John Rhodes, a veteran who completed the HUD-VASH program a year ago, hopes that stories like Fox’s and his own will encourage struggling veterans to join the program.

“Any veteran who can take this opportunity and make the best of it should research it,” Rhodes said. “It is work, but the work is worth it when the realtor hands you the keys to your own home.”

Retired Col. Michael Amaral, director of the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System, believes the HUD-VASH program is one of the most effective and supportive ways for veterans to use government resources to get back on their feet.

“It’s a collective effort to help our veterans, especially those in dire need of help,” said Amaral. “But the end result helps support those who have fought for our liberties we take for granted.”

A cavalcade of HACEP maintenance technicians, representatives from the local VA office, Congressman O’Rourke’s office and City Representative Sam Morgan’s office, and Cichon himself helped carry Fox’s belongings into her new home.

“This is part of our mission: Get people through our programs and into a life of independence and self-sufficiency,” said Cichon. “Veterans like Cholla and John are an inspiration to their families and our community.”

Gallery Courtesy HACEP

300 Backpacks Distributed at HACEP’s Annual Back-To-School Fair

On Saturday morning the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP), with assistance from the Hunt Family Foundation’s donation of $10,000 to there were over 300 children from the agency’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Section 8 program who benefitted from the 9th Annual Back-To-School Fair.

“This event gives children in our HCV program a chance to get ahead on the school year with a new backpack and school supplies to start the academic year prepared,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon.  “We are excited to offer this event for the ninth year and are grateful to the Hunt Family Foundation for its generous support.”

Hunt Companies, through their Family Foundation, donated $10,000 to HACEP in order to make this annual event possible. There were over 300 backpacks filled with necessary school supplies – like paper, scissors, notebooks, folders, glue, erasers and more – for a total value of $30 per backpack.

For families with multiple children in school at the same time, the start of the school year can become a financial struggle. According to Uplift Family Services, a California-based community and behavioral health service organization that advocates on behalf of children, children are typically excited for a new school year but encounter mild-to-severe anxiety due to a lack of resources required by school districts.

“Every child should be excited to go back to school and prepared with the necessary school supplies,” said City of El Paso District #2 Representative Alexsandra Annello. “No child should feel embarrassed for not having what they need, nor should the parents struggle to provide their child the opportunities to succeed. This is why events like HACEP’s Back-To-School fair are so incredibly important because it encourages our community to support one another and set our children up for success.”

For the past eight years, HACEP has impacted the lives of over 3,000 children across all of its affordable housing programs and their families by providing the tools necessary to help them be successful in the classroom. One of the cornerstones of HACEP’s mission is to provide families with the tools necessary to lead a life of self-sufficiency, and in many ways this annual event is a major thread through the fabric of this initiative.

“As a parent myself, this event is just as important for the parents as it is for the children, because the parents are the ones who champion the young ones,” said HACEP Board of Commissioners Chairman Francisco Ortega. “These children see the effort that’s put into this event and it’s my hope they place a similar effort in their education.”

To help embody the essence of ‘champion,’ HACEP’s Back-To-School fair also featured El Paso’s Sweetheart and IBF World Featherweight Champion Jennifer Han – the Sun City’s homegrown champion. Jennifer Han shared words of encouragement with the families and children and speak to them about the importance of fighting for their future.

“I’m so honored to be part of this event witnessing the hundreds of young men and young women acknowledging the importance of their education and what it will mean for their future,” shares World Champion Jennifer Han. “As an El Pasoan, I am proud to champion our community and each one of these families and show that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can become the person you want to be.”

In addition to receiving backpacks full of school supplies, children and families were also able to enjoy access to a Health Fair – an added component to HACEP’s annual event – featuring 15 vendors highlighting public services offered to families.

Local community partners included Desert Sun Chiropractor, Allstate Insurance, Kool Smiles and more. Families were able to receive information on services afforded to them, along with health care items and even bicycle helmets for children provided by The Texas Department of State Health Services.

Gallery courtesy HACEP

Video+Gallery: HACEP Opens Up Old El Paso Natural Gas HQ for Tour

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) hosted a walk-through of the historic Blue Flame Building before the reconstruction phase of the building commences in full.

A tour of the ground floor and executive floors took place on Friday afternoon, as representatives from the project’s developer, Franklin Development, and the project’s architect, In*Situ, discussed the development plans for The Blue Flame and highlight the historic elements.

According to HACEP, crews will convert the historic office building into 120 affordable apartment units throughout 12-floors, will include about 45,000 square-feet of office space throughout three-floors in addition to ground-floor commercial and retail space.

The project cost stands at approximately $40 Million.

**Author’s note: In the video, I referenced going with my grandparents to ‘pay a bill’ at the EPNG building – as the recollections of a 5-year-old aren’t exactly detail-oriented (as pointed out by a kind reader over at the Remember In El Paso When Facebook Page), those monthly visits may have been for an entirely different purpose, as bills were not paid at that location. cb**

HACEP Resident Wins National Youth Leadership Award

DENVER – Housing Authority of El Paso (HACEP) resident Aileen Martinez was honored with the All-America City Youth Leadership Award on Sunday night in the Mile-High City.

“I am so honored with this amazing award,” Aileen Martinez said. “To stand with our community leaders and share El Paso’s story on a national stage helps break down negative perceptions of El Paso. We are a city of champions and now the world knows.”

The award was bestowed upon Martinez, 14, for her work ethic, leadership and dedication in leading her middle school to three national Chess championship titles, and her ability to overcome adversity and using it to motivate others.

Martinez, previously a Henderson Middle School student who will now attend Jefferson High School, played a pivotal role in Henderson’s chess team. The middle school’s team has won three United States Chess Federation’s National Junior High Championship awards.

“Sharing the stories of HACEP residents who overcome adversity is key to breaking the stigma public housing residents unfairly face,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “We are proud that Aileen has been honored with this award and her story serves as an inspiration to us all.”

El Paso was also named a 2018 All-America City on Sunday night. El Paso previously won the award in 1969 and 2010. The El Paso delegation’s theme was “City of Champions,” and the delegation was led by IBF World Champion Jennifer Han.

To win, each community must describe successful efforts to address pressing local challenges. HACEP’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative – which will revitalize HACEP’s housing portfolio by 2020 – was one-third of the All-America City presentation, with Martinez’s story playing an integral role in the presentation.

Martinez took part in El Paso’s delegation competing for the 2018 All-America City Award presentation, hosted by the National Civic League, which recognizes ten cities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments.

The All-America City Youth Leadership Award was created in memory of the National Civic League’s (NCL) former President John Parr who valued the power and impact of youth leadership. Youth, ages 14 to 25, are nominated all over the country when cities apply for the All-America City Award. Each city that is named a finalist allow the youth to advance to the next level.

During the NCL conference in Denver, nominees are narrowed down to five in which they go through an interview with a panel of judges.

Housing Authority of El Paso Announces Art Contest

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) officially launches its 8th annual art contest with this year’s theme: The Transformation of El Paso.

HACEP’s annual art contest is open to all resident who reside within the El Paso region, to include the areas of El Paso County. Entry is free and the deadline to enter has been extended till Friday, June 8 to submit their work.

Once complete, the artwork will be displayed in El Paso’s Downtown Public Library. Winners of each category will be announced in mid-June at the HACEP Art Gallery Reception.

The Transformation of El Paso capture’s HACEP’s efforts that is five years underway as well as the great work of other organizations, government entities and private-sector partners to help grow, develop and improve the greater community of El Paso.

As the old adage goes, ‘a picture can say a thousand words,’ HACEP is seeking out artists of any level to participate this year’s art contest to help capture a pivotal moment in El Paso’s history.

“Part of redefining public housing is effectively sharing our transformation,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “The annual art contest gives both our residents and the greater El Paso community an opportunity to be part of this historic transformation.”

The 8th Annual HACEP Art Contest is open to all residents of El Paso County, including students aged 11 years and older. Participants are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to visually capture this year’s theme in any artistic medium of their choice (e.g. painting, photography, video, sculpture, etc.).

Winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of El Pasoan judges from different disciplines in the art world and announced at a special reception.

Award winners will receive a cash prize, a highlight in the local media, featured online and in HACEP’s newsletter that has a distribution of over 40,000. Please visit the HACEP Website for entry requirements, registration and promotional materials.

This year’s art contest theme ties into HACEP’s current efforts as it continues to lead the nation in the first, largest revitalization effort for affordable housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative. Nearly half of the agency’s housing portfolio has undergone a complete transformation across the city of El Paso.

As HACEP sits as the country’s 14th largest housing authority serving over 40,000 El Pasoans – or nearly 6% of the city’s population – a transformation of El Paso’s affordable housing communities managed by HACEP translates into a transformation of many neighborhoods throughout the Sun City.

HACEP Officially Unveils Rebuilt Sherman Plaza

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Texas (HACEP) officially unveiled Sherman Plaza, their $24 Million affordable housing community reconstructed as part of the agency’s larger $1.3 Billion RAD initiative.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Friday, May 11, with representatives from Sundt Construction, the official contractor for the redevelopment, along with Food City Supermarkets – long-time community partner with HACEP – in attendance.

The reconstruction of HACEP’s Sherman Plaza culminated into a $24 million investment in one of El Paso’s oldest neighborhoods was recently designated LEED-certified equipped with Energy-Star appliances, energy-efficient qualities, and central heating and cooling systems.

The event also featured Texas State Senator José Rodríguez, Texas State Representative Cesár Blanco, El Paso County Commissioner David Stout and El Paso City Representative Cissy Lizarraga.

HACEP’s Sherman Plaza Ribbon Cutting Ceremony is part of the City of El Paso’s celebration of Economic Development Week 2018

HACEP: El Paso Community Encouraged to Join Annual Art Contest

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) officially launches its 7th annual art contest with this year’s theme, The Transformation of El Paso. HACEP’s annual art contest is open to everyone who resides within the El Paso region, to include the areas of El Paso County.

“Part of redefining public housing is effectively sharing our transformation,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “The annual art contest gives both our residents and the greater El Paso community an opportunity to be part of this historic transformation.”

Entry is completely free, artists will have till Friday, June 1 to submit their work which will be displayed in El Paso’s Downtown Public Library. Winners of each category will be announced in mid-June at the HACEP Art Gallery Reception.

This year’s art contest theme ties into HACEP’s current efforts as it continues to lead the nation in the first, largest revitalization effort for affordable housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative. Nearly half of the agency’s housing portfolio has undergone a complete transformation across the city of El Paso.

The Transformation of El Paso capture’s HACEP’s efforts that is five years underway as well as the great work of other organizations, government entities and private-sector partners to help grow, develop and improve the greater community of El Paso. As the old adage goes, ‘a picture can say a thousand words,’ HACEP is seeking out artists of any level to participate this year’s art contest to help capture a pivotal moment in El Paso’s history.”

The 7th Annual HACEP Art Contest is open to all residents of El Paso County, including students aged 11 years and older. Participants are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to visually capture this year’s theme in any artistic medium of their choice (e.g. painting, photography, video, sculpture, etc.).

Winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of El Pasoan judges from different disciplines in the art world and announced at a special reception. Award winners will receive a cash prize, a highlight in the local media, featured online and in HACEP’s newsletter that has a distribution of over 40,000.

For more information, entry requirements, registration and promotional materials, visit HACEP’s Website.

Housing Authority Receives National Award for Distinguished Budget

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) received national recognition for its 2017 fiscal year budget. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) officially announced that HACEP received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

“The intricacies of managing any housing authority’s budget is a very arduous and complicate process,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald W. Cichon. “And when you take into consideration the portfolio-wide conversion and revitalization effort we are taking on, this national award exemplifies how hard our financial team is working to ensure our fiscal responsibility to the tax payer is held to highest standard possible.”

This marks the fourth year the agency has received this national honor, which is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental budgeting.

This significant  accomplishment was made possible by the HACEP Financial Management Team, who was also presented with a GFOA Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation.

To receive the award, HACEP had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for an effective budget presentation. The agency rated “proficient,” the highest rating, in all four areas that a budget should function as for any entity: a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.

There are 14 criteria in each category used to measure the effectiveness and competency of the budget.

“We began competing for this award four years ago with our 2014 budget and so far we are undefeated,” states interim CFO Hanna Sarah. “Every year we become better at what we do – providing better housing, becoming more efficient, and ensuring our financial accountability to the tax payers.”

HACEP’s Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Burt Blacksher presented the national award to interim CFO Hanna Sarah and Senior Finance Manager Galaxie Rodriguez, who helped lead the team on producing the award-winning budget presentation.

Six Families Get A Better Night’s Sleep This Holiday Season

A holiday wish for one family turned into a blessing for five additional families as the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) called on the support of El Paso’s Mattress Firm to bring a better night’s sleep to each household.

On Friday, Mattress Firm donated a total of 11 mattresses to six families across three HACEP communities who fell on exceptionally difficult times this holiday season. Each family, for various reasons, found themselves in need of this basic necessity that if not for the partnership between Mattress Firm and HACEP would have gone unmet or unnoticed.

“Our standard at the Housing Authority is to provide our families with a safe, clean and affordable place to call home in their time of need,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “However, even something as simple and basic like a mattress would be for any other family can be a challenge for one of our families. So we are incredibly thankful to Mattress Firm for this new partnership as they help us provide the very basic necessities for those who need it the most.”

Every year, HACEP is given the opportunity to go the extra mile by assisting families who receive affordable housing with any necessities they may lack through an annual ‘holiday giving’ initiative, “Operation Noel.”

Employees and departments of HACEP get to “adopt-a-family” by purchasing gifts that the family may request through an application. In an effort to provide a mattress to one family, the Housing Choice Voucher Department (or Section 8) called on El Paso/New Mexico’s Mattress Firm to see if they would be able to donate one to a family in need.

The response from Mattress Firm: “How many more can we donate?”

This one simple question turned into an effort of looking through all the families who were selected as beneficiaries of “Operation Noel” to see who else needed mattresses.

The result: 11 mattresses (5 queen, 5 twin and one full) will be donated to a total of six families. In one case, a 15-year old female only had an air-mattress until it popped several weeks ago. In another case, an elderly couple did not have the financial resources to replace their current mattress which was both too small and not conducive to their physical health.

“Save Monday. Sleep Happy. It’s a simple motto we live by at Mattress Firm, but it can mean especially more to those who need it the most,” states El Paso/New Mexico Mattress Firm Vice-President Dan Longoria. “When we received that call from HACEP about the need for one mattress, we immediately knew there were other families who lacked this very basic necessity. We know that six families is just a drop in the bucket but it is definitely a start to a partnership to help many more families in the future.”

The majority of the families reside in northeast El Paso at HACEP’s Eisenhower Community. As part of this effort, District #4 City Representative Sam Morgan will be donating his time to help deliver the mattresses to the families who reside in District #4.

“I was thrilled to learn of Mattress Firm’s initiative when they answered that call,” shares City District #4 Representative Sam Morgan. “That is what the holiday season is all about – answering the call to serve your community when they need it the most.”

Juvenile Justice Center, HACEP Partner to Give Back on National Pride Day

The El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center partners with The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) once again this year to celebration National Pride Day – a day of giving back to the community – by making improvements to the Kennedy Community parking lot, one of HACEP’s largest communities located in the Mission Valley.

“For the last ten years, we have built a strong partnership with the El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center that has led to many opportunities of improving our communities throughout El Paso, involving the Justice Center’s youth in proactive civic engagement, and pumping a sense of pride into our communities that will actively engage our residents,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon.

The Juvenile Justice Center is part of the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department who work with youth (14 to 17 years old) to participate in the Community Service Program as a means to receive physical, emotional and educational needs in safe and structured environments.

The Kennedy Community, located at 400 South Zaragoza in the El Paso’s Mission Valley, is one of HACEP’s largest communities with 364 residential units, a gymnasium, and daycare center, plus a 200-space parking lot that serves the Community Center.

Together, the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) and HACEP’s Resident Council (a community-resident association) brought 20 youth from the JJC and a group of residents from the Kennedy Community to completely restripe the 200-space parking lot for the Kennedy Community Center that translated into a cost savings for the agency of about $3,500.

Savings in maintenance costs for any property in the HACEP portfolio improve the agency’s ability to host special events and educational opportunities to further enrich the lives of residents and their children.

The impact it has on the lives of the volunteers, according to Joel Olivas, Community Service Juvenile Supervising Officer, is priceless in that it gives each of the youth an opportunity to directly serve their community and see the product that they were directly involved with.

“These community service projects are extremely important as they allow our youth to see the positive impact they can have in their very own neighborhood,” states Joel Olivas. “And when our youth play a role in improving their neighborhood, the more likely they are going to continue to take care of it while recognizing the world around them.”

The partnership between the JJC and HACEP has led to the restriping of parking lots at several other HACEP communities throughout El Paso, the neighborhood cleaning initiative in the historic Chamizal Neighborhood near North Tays Community, and the construction of keyhole gardens at the Paisano Green Community, an elderly and disabled living community, in south-central El Paso (keyhole gardens are raised-bed gardens ideal for elderly and disabled).

National Pride Day is a day of giving back to your community in the form of community service that targets a need, and through volunteer service people work together to serve that need.

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